By Phiebie L. Hutchins, President, North Texas Conference Black Methodists for Church Renewal
“But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” — Amos 5:24
Many of our global community’s advocates for peace recognize how racial unity is a prerequisite for peace throughout the world. Jesus himself spoke of peace and justice as well as demonstrated peace and equality in His teachings. We are living in a world where racism continues to provoke discord; where can we find peace?
Do you ever stop to intentionally examine the meanings and contexts of the words we use to categorize one another? I don’t believe we, as a body of Christ, realize the pain caused by racism and the lack of peace within our communities, in our nation and throughout the world. The topics of racism and racial justice continue to be difficult to discuss. Few Christian leaders encourage courageous and bold communal conversations that include civil disobedience as a way of bringing attention to, as well as disrupting, racist social structures and institutions.
The universal use of the word “justice” alludes to fair treatment and equality for all people. However, when there is so much discourse in our community and so many variations of the word justice, we see this as being “unfair,” which means unjust treatment.
In any case, the Biblical idea of equity goes beyond rationality and merely equal treatment. It teaches us that equity starts and finishes in God. It isn't something we made or can completely achieve. At the point when God – who is simply in himself – brought the universe into being, God Created all things in equity. People were made to live fairly in good and perfect communion with God and one another.
So, in the Bible, equity in a general sense has to do with righteous and good connections. It portrays conditions — emotional, mental and spiritual – in which individuals prosper through right associations with God and with one another. When something harms or ruptures those relationships, doing justice includes fixing things. In both senses, justice includes honesty and integrity, wholeness and flourishing for individuals and their relationships.
We can look at justice as a means to peace; however, it is more than just the absence of conflict. God's reaction is to keep justice and peace flowing like never-failing streams in this world. God neither overlooks nor pardons unjust behavior, however God despises injustice and its effects on all aspects of Creation.
Questions for Reflection:
- How are you allowing God to work through you for peace?
Are we building alliances and strategies across race, ethnicity, class, gender, age and sexual orientation to break through carriers of racism and oppression?
Are we equipping our leaders to understand and recognize the complexity and implications of racial issues?
Questions for Family Reflection:
- What xxxxs did?